U-Akron in Shared Partnership to Operate FS at LCCC

The University of Akron (OH) Dining Services will be collaborating with Lorain County (OH) Community College in a “shared services partnership” in which UA is assisting LCCC in the enhancement and management of its campus food services.

LCCC recently ended its relationship with a traditional food service management company and was looking for an alternative. The institution has approximately 10,000 students but has achieved only about a 25- to 30-percent food service capture rate, far under the 50 percent that is the traditional benchmark in such environments, says Zia Ahmed, director of UA Dining Services.

Ahmed describes the new partnership as one in which LCCC’s foodservices will be self-operated, with UA providing management assistance in return for a fee for the next three years. LCCC will employ a general manager, a chef and service workers, and UA will provide oversight to the retail dining and banquet/conference operations. At this time, LCCC realizes about $600,000 from its retail foodservice operations and another $600,000 from its campus catering and conference facilities.

LCCC’s on-campus food service currently is limited to an unbranded “1960s-style” café and a small coffee shop, so UA is working with LCCC and food service consultants Cini-Little International and Rave Reviews to develop an upgraded campus dining operation.

“We have the opportunity to make major changes because they are going through an extensive campus renovation, including the creation of a new College Center and enhanced conference center kitchen over the next year and a half,” says Ahmed. He says that plans call for a mix of national branded and self-branded concepts such as exist on the Akron campus, and the addition of a marketplace-type operation.

This is the first such outside management contract secured by UA Dining Services, Ahmed says.